New York Rep launches International Illustration Contest. Say what?

Why in the world would a Rep be doing an Illustration Contest?

I’ve been asking myself this same question.

Several of the illustrators that I represent have been contacted by a Rep from New York, asking them to participate in his NEW illustration contest. This Rep has been contacting illustrators that he has found on various illustration websites and sending them information about his contest.

Now, being a Rep myself, I always thought that our main duty and function was to find work for the illustrators that we represent and promote their work. The contest that this Rep is running states that you could win $1000 and an all expense round trip to New York City with the chance to meet with various art directors and present your portfolio. I am trying to figure out how this type of promotion will help the artists on his roster.

Trust me, I know that business has been tough for a lot of people in our industry and everyone is doing what they can to get their name out in front, but is this really the best way? Is doing an Illustration Contest when you are a Rep really the way to go? So I went on the website to see how one would participate and to my surprise found that there is a fee of $25 dollars per entry.  Like I said, I know times are tough but to spend so much time and effort on promoting a contest open to all in the industry does not seem like the best way to develop business. I mean, most of the people who will be participating or at least checking out the site will be illustrators.  So in turn, the traffic that is generated by this contest will not be potential clients but other hungry illustrators.

Is the Rep doing this contest to make money from the entries?  One really has to ask this question to truly understand the reasoning behind this. Does the rep feel that there are not already enough illustration contests out there in the first place that he needs to add another one to the list? The tagline on the Reps website states “ The Future of Award Winning Illustrators”  is he referring to “his contest” when he states this?

I am also wondering what the 42 illustrators who he represents think about this contest and how it’s going to bring work in for them.

Additionally, on the site there are several sponsors who have lent their names and logos to promote this new contest.  Some quite reputable I might add. Of course, we all know too well that they are also suffering from the impact of the recession and how it has affected their business in the illustration industry. So it’s only natural that they should join forces and together as a group go after as many pieces of the pie as they can get their hands on.

I don’t want to seem overly critical because I love the creative ways that Reps and artists alike are developing business for themselves. We all need to be creative, intuitive, original and forward thinking. Again, as a Rep who has been in the business for over 15 years now,  I ask myself, is promoting an international illustration contest something a Rep should do or should we leave it to someone who is not so directly involved?

I will let you all decide for yourselves.

Anna Goodson


8 thoughts on “New York Rep launches International Illustration Contest. Say what?

  1. Great post Anna,
    I too was invited to take part in this “contest”, as they found my work online just like your illustrators. It struck me as odd that this Agency would be hosting something like this. There seem to be no benefits for them other than taking money from fledgling illustrators. I knew that this was going to be nothing more than a gamble if I entered, and being a gambling sort, I couldn’t resist seeing if I couldn’t turn 25 into 1000.
    As I read through the terms, I realized what this was and why the sponsors were backing it: “In addition to, and without limiting the foregoing, you also consent to the Company providing such personal data (including your name and email address) to Workbook, LLC, a sponsor of this Contest.” What a scam! Now workbook can call and mail every single entrant in this contest from now on! I even got an email after entering saying, “Thanks for your entry. We would like to send you a poster. What’s your address?” … No thanks guys.

    They must have had a brainstorming session on how they could compile a list of every young illustration student or beginner and make money from them. From now on, I’m sticking to the legit contests thank you.


  2. Yeah me too (although I don’t know exactly if it’s the same contest), and I really considered it but I decided not to participate in the end. The entry fee is not very unusual, there are other contests and other things alike that ask money, but I really wonder what the benefits of this contest are, both for the illustrator and the rep. I find most contests quite complicated, they ask money and have all these conditions and I keep wondering: what do I ever win from this? I mean, yeah, you have a chance to win money or a trip or , and the most important, you’ll get publicity which you can benefit from. And sure it’s fun to ‘win’ something. Though, how more people are participating, less chance you’ll have.
    I think, if I’ll have enough money for this some day (I’m sure most illustrators aren’t rich or anything) I’m going to try maybe once or twice. But I’m really only a starter, so I can’t tell if this is right or not.


  3. Anna, I’m so glad you wrote this because I was thinking the same thing regarding this “contest.” Many of my former SCAD classmates excitedly decided to participate, and I know that many of them are struggling to make ends meet and that paying a $25 entry fee would have been a big sacrifice for them to simply enter the contest. I chose not to enter because I felt that there was something unethical and fishy about requiring such an entry fee of struggling young artists. Had there not been an entry fee, of course, it would have been an entirely different story and I might have considered it. I really have to question the motive behind this supposed contest, though.


  4. Great post, Anna! Some of our artists were also contacted. We actually sent the Rep an email requesting more information, as well as reasons why they were contacting our artists (some who didn’t even fit the 5 year or less prof. experience guidelines) and the only response we received was that their intern had made a terrible mistake (really? Because we all know that it is quite easy to determine whether or not an artist is represented.)
    One of the reasons we think this rep created this contest, other than building databases with business partners, is to add new artists to his roster. Talk about getting creative… creating revenue while seeking out new talent?! I hope that we can all keep our heads up high and keep fighting and getting the best for our illustrators, without making the illustration community run around and spend money in search for false hope. Again, great post.


  5. I’ve contemplated on entering this but like other art contest like this one require a fee and yea, that really says it all. Its really great that you spoke out publicly about this because I actually thought for a second that this was condoned in the industry. Great post anna!


  6. I saw advertisements for this contest, and found it irksome as well. It was hard for me to put a fine point on why it struck me as “off”, but you certainly said it well. I’m a brand-spanking-new illustrator who will soon be looking for a rep, but I decided not to enter this contest on principle. Who benefits from a representative who hosts paid-entry contests for other people?

    By the way, I enjoy reading your thoughtful posts. I’m learning a lot from them!


  7. I’m a bit leery when it comes to ‘contests.’ But, I thought about it as the rep’s firm seemed quite prestigious. But alas I was past their age cutoff. Oh, and I didn’t way to pay $25 to be on a mailing list somewhere.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s